Blurring The Line Between Science and Science Fiction

Title: Blurring the Line Between Science and Science Fiction
Text: Genesis 1:1, 26-27; Hebrews 11:3
Time: October 3rd, 2012

As some of you may know I’m somewhat of a documentary lover, meaning, I love to watch interesting documentary specials on various topics, such as science, religion and culture. That’s why I like watching documentaries on TV found on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, PBS and others, although these programs are usually heavily biased in the secular, non-Christian direction. Still, I enjoy watching them, if not only to compare with the truth of Christianity, and see where they agree and disagree with God’s Word. I’ve been noticing over the last few years how the line between science and science fiction has been blurring, to the point now where I’m often shocked how supposedly scientific documentaries are now full of science fiction speculation rather than hard facts. For example, I’ve mentioned before how the History Channel has been airing a series on “Ancient Aliens,” with the premise that aliens from outer space have visited our planet in the past and have influenced our history and culture on earth for thousands of years. I’ve never seen such an odd mixture of science and science fiction before given such a high profile treatment by a supposedly credible television network. But it’s not just the History Channel that is lowering its scientific standards in order to attract viewers; it’s the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and PBS also. They have all run so-called scientific documentary specials on the possibility of alien life in the cosmos, and surprisingly, they’ve been very sympathetic to the idea – a bit too sympathetic, from a scientific standpoint. For example, on the History Channel’s documentary series on space entitled, “The Universe,” scientists discuss the possibility of life outside of planet earth, not as possible, but as probable. The same with other documentary series such as “Through the Wormhole,” “Curiosity,” and “Stephen Hawking’s Universe.” In fact, nearly all the most popular space documentary series found on television today express a positive or very sympathetic view towards the possibility of intelligent life beyond earth. Now why is that? Looking back just a few years ago, it was pretty much the scientific consensus that there was no credible evidence that life existed outside planet earth. Why the shift today? Is it just because today’s scientists were raised on Star Wars and Star Trek and have hyper-intensified imaginations? And what does all this have to do with our daily lives anyway? Why spend any time talking about it? Because we are all citizens of our modern, secular society. We all read the newspapers, watch television and surf the Internet. Ideas circulate and influence our thinking. The idea that life outside planet earth exists and that aliens have, are, or will visit earth is gaining credibility in popular thinking. Should we buy into this popular notion? Or should we be skeptical of it? We will have to decide, and how we think about this topic will influence how we see life and view our purpose in life. So let me point out a few important things to consider.

First, modern thinking about extra-terrestrial life is influenced by the false assumption of evolution. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible outlines how God created our planet and life on it, but evolution tries to explain how life “happened” on earth through a process of time and chance. The biblical Christian explanation of the origins of life is that it’s the result of God acting on purpose to create life on earth. But the evolutionary explanation of origins is that life just “happened” due to the right combination of chemicals and the forces acting upon them. This is the basic assumption of basically all the television documentaries found on the major networks. The assumption is that evolution is the reason why life arose and developed on planet earth. There is also the assumption that earth isn’t anything special, just another planet among billions of planets revolving around billions of stars in the galaxy. So operating under the assumption of evolution, we would need no God as Creator, no need for a super intelligent agent to create because according to the theory of evolution there need be no creation in the biblical sense. Things can happen on their own, of their own cause. Natural forces can explain all that exists, including life, from the simplest one-celled organisms to the more complex structures such as human life, and especially the human brain. Now how does the assumption of evolution today feed into the belief in extra-terrestrial life and space aliens? Simply that without the assumption of evolution we need God to act specifically and with purpose to create and bring about life here or anywhere else in the universe. God could certainly do that, bring about life evidently, like he did on planet earth. But using the assumptions of biblical Christianity God would need to do it deliberately, while the assumption of evolution teaches that life can arise anywhere the conditions are right and the right things happen at the right time. In other words, with the assumption of evolution, life could happen anywhere, at any time if the conditions are right. Life just “happens” with evolution, while life is “created” assuming the biblical description of Creation. Now again, there’s no problem with God creating life here on earth or anywhere else in the universe because it’s up to God where he wants life and where he doesn’t want it. But Christians can point to the scientific fact, and keep reminding people, that there is no solid evidence for life on other worlds. There is no definite evidence that evolution “happened” on another planet; in fact, as I’ve argued before, there’s strong reason to doubt it “happened” on earth either. So we shouldn’t buy into the assumption of evolution, whether here or somewhere else.

Second, modern thinking about extra-terrestrial life is influenced by the second false assumption that evolution probably happened elsewhere, producing intelligent life. Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’. . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” According to the Bible not only did God “intelligently design” the universe and the earth, but he deliberately and with forethought created intelligent life, men and women. But according to the theory of evolution no design or creation is needed because nature itself develops intelligent life if given enough time and the right combination of chemistry and forces. So let’s review the sequence of assumptions that lead many modern scientists to conclude that extra-terrestrial intelligence is not only possible but even probable. If we assume evolution produces intelligent life on earth, then we simply have to consider that wherever the right conditions exist intelligent life will evolve. If we look out at the vast cosmos we see billions and billions of stars. If we assume each star has a number of planets that revolve around it, then we can also assume that at least some of these planets are positioned like earth in a spot that could support life. Then, if we suppose that some planets contain the right combination of chemicals and energy, life could possible “happen” as it did on earth, assuming evolution. Now given the vast number of planets, it’s not only possible but also probable that somewhere, someplace life arose through evolution like it did on earth. And out of these places where life arose, it’s possible, yes, probable that some of them have reached the level of natural development to produce intelligent life. It also means that of the places that have intelligent life, it’s possible, yes, probable, that some of these places are even more advanced in their intelligent life than we are. In other words, there are probably planets where intelligent life is superior to our own. Thus, there are probably advanced space aliens that do exist somewhere out there. Now this isn’t just something that science fiction writers talk about, this is something that mainstream scientists are talking about. On the leading science documentaries credible scientists are interviewed and they talk about and discuss the probability of superior extra-terrestrial life existing in the cosmos presently. They do so based on the assumption of evolution, using the process of thinking I’ve just outlined. Now keep in mind, this thinking is all theoretical. There isn’t one shred of solid evidence that life exists outside planet earth, let alone that intelligent life exists out there. But based on the assumption of evolution, it all makes sense to modern science that there would be intelligent life, i.e. aliens, out there. This is what I mean by the blurring of science and science fiction. It used to be that one needed evidence to call something science; now it seems all one needs is a theory, especially in the case of evolution. As Christians we need to play the role of skeptic in this instance (surprise!) and require more hard-core evidence. Let’s not allow speculation serve as evidence, because it’s not. Let’s demand that scientists be scientists instead of speculative philosophers.

Third, modern thinking about extra-terrestrial life is influenced by the third false assumption that because evolution probably produced intelligent life elsewhere, our planet has been, is being, or will be visited by extra-terrestrials. Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” What accounts for the fact that a majority of people on planet earth believe in extra-terrestrials? One of the major contributing factors is the belief, the assumption, that evolution “happens” all over the universe just like it happens on earth. If you teach a child in school that he is merely the product of a long natural process of evolution on earth, then what’s to keep that child from imagining or believing that it could have happened on some other planet? And if it did happen on other planets, just like it happened on earth, then might these other planets be more advanced in their evolutionary development? Certainly, working under the evolution assumption, there could be planets at all different stages of evolution; some very primitive, others more developed, still others at our own stage of development. But more important, there would also be still other planets with more advanced intelligence. These are the ones that would have or could have visited our planet in the past, so say some scientists today. Of course, many or even most credible scientists will be very careful not to say that they are certain or believe definitely that aliens have, or are, or will visit planet earth. But the fact that they are talking about such things means they take the idea seriously. On one episode of the History Channel’s “The Universe” series, one scientist from a leading university stated that even though it sounds like science fiction to consider the possibility of aliens visiting earth, he says it’s actually quite probable that the earth has been, is being, or will be visited at some point by extra-terrestrial life. He’s simply working out the implications of belief in evolution, plus our increasing knowledge of the cosmos through our discovery of planets outside our own solar system. If you couple the theory of evolution with the discovery of more and more stars, and more and more planets, you build a pretty logical argument for extra-terrestrial visitation of earth at some point. Now what the more extreme and far out writers do with the present scientific consensus that is open and sympathetic to extra-terrestrial life is run with it in producing an entirely different worldview. For example, the wildly speculative writings of Eric Von Daniken and his followers that the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” documentary series is based on. This again, is where science and science fiction blend in today’s world to create a worldview that is essentially hostile to Christianity. If this new worldview is correct, then the biblical Christian worldview falls.

But fortunately, we don’t have to worry about the Christian worldview falling because it is based on truth and facts, as opposed to the wild speculations of both the far out lunatic fringe UFO fanatics and the false assumptions of evolution upon which mainstream scientists cling. The present consensus scientific culture actually encourages the current extra-terrestrial craze because it tries to say that life “happens” through evolution, and that it can “happen” anywhere the conditions are right. As Christians, we know that life doesn’t just “happen,” here on earth or anywhere in the cosmos. Life comes about only by the design and direction of God Almighty – that is what the Bible teaches. If the Book of Genesis teaches us anything, it teaches us that a planet develops by the intelligent design of a Creator God; it does not come about of itself by itself. The Intelligent Design movement in the United States is a reaction, in part, against the speculative theories that come from evolution. It’s an attempt to ground scientific activity in the facts, instead of fiction. In truth, present science doesn’t know how life “happened” on earth, yet that doesn’t seem to stop scientists from talking about how life probably “happened” on other planets. This is a massive case of one getting ahead of oneself. It’s funny how the big push today in the space program is to find life outside planet earth. Again, there’s nothing wrong with exploration and discovery, but what is the assumption behind the push to find life elsewhere? Isn’t it to attempt to confirm the theory of evolution? For example, what is the big push to find life on the planet Mars? Isn’t it to confirm the theory of evolution? But if life is found on Mars, or evidence that life once existed on Mars, would that really confirm evolution? Supposing a sample of Martian life could be tested and its DNA analyzed, only if it had radically different DNA could we begin to talk about some kind of possible evolution. But if its DNA were similar to our own it would only show how life was exchanged somehow between the two planets at some point in time. This would not be a confirmation to the theory of evolution. So we shouldn’t be upset or discouraged in our Christian faith by the real discoveries of science. We must remember the saying of Augustine, “All truth is God’s truth,” meaning, if something is true it came from God who is the author and originator of all truth ultimately. Real science and the Christian faith don’t conflict ultimately. But wild speculations do indeed conflict with Christianity, as they should. As Christians we need to be firm believers in the truths of God as taught in the Bible, but as for the speculations swirling around in our secular culture today, we need to be skeptics and learn to say, “I doubt it; show me your proof!”

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  1. Blurring The Line Between Science and Science Fiction | ChristianBookBarn.com Says:

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